A Guide to Lenses for Your DSLR

StockSnap_9AXI43044HIf you want to improve your photography skills, you will want to make the most out of your equipment. This includes knowing the right lens for your photos! A good camera lens can make a big difference in the look of your photos. There is no one right answer to which lens you should buy for your camera but it’s important to understand the difference between different lenses. Always try and use the best lens for the job at hand. Here are the most common lenses and how you should use them:

Standard Lenses –

If you recently purchased a DSLR, it might have come with a starter or kit lens. These are typically standard lenses. Standard lenses have an angle of view that is similar to a human eye so they take photos that appear natural. Standard lenses can be used for many different types of photos, from street photography to landscape or portrait.

Macro Lenses –

Macro lenses were designed for close-up photography. Many macro lenses produce a 1:1 image, which means the subject is reproduced on the camera sensor at life-size, providing plenty of detail for the photo. They that give great image sharpness and contrast and create eye-catching photos. Macro lenses are ideal for shooting smaller subjects like flowers or insects.

Telephoto and Super Telephoto Lenses –

Telephoto lenses have long local lengths over 70 mm. They help you photograph subjects that are farther away. Telephoto lenses focus on a narrower field of view and can bring far away subjects much closer. Telephoto lenses are often bigger and heavier than other lenses and are most frequently used for shooting wildlife or sporting events.

Wide Angle Lenses –

Wide angle lenses have shorter focal lengths, between 24mm and 35 mm. They provide an angle of view that is beyond a standard lenses so they can capture more of a scene in a single shot. Wide angles magnify the perceived distance between subjects in the foreground and background and can give an exaggeration of lines and curves in photos. Many people use wide angle lenses for landscape photos or when they are trying to get a large subject into a frame, like photographing a large group of people.

We also want you to know the difference between prime lenses and zoom lenses, just to help make your shopping easier!

Prime Lenses vs. Zoom Lenses-

A prime lens is one with a fixed focal length. You can get prime lenses in various focal lengths, from wide-angle to telephoto. A zoom lens is one that can be zoomed in or out providing different focal lengths. Prime lenses typically have wider apertures, which gives them better low-light performance and they have a better optical quality than zooms. But zoom lenses provide more flexibility in their ability to shoot at different focal lengths but at slower apertures.

The right lens depends on your photography subjects and your level of experience. You should shop around to find the right lens for your photos.

You can find any of these lenses at your local camera store or Amazon.

Interested in learning more about cameras and camera equipment! Check out these posts:
So You Got a Fancy New DSLR Camera… Now What?!
How to Get Started Using your DSLR Camera Settings
Using Wide Angle Lenses in Sports Photography
How to Find the Best Camera Equipment for Sports Photography

 

How to Use Remote Cameras for Sports Photography

This month, photographers all across the country are setting up their gear to get the best photos during March Madness. If you have ever shot a sporting event, you probably already know how hard it can be to cover every angle possible. Especially in high level, fast-paced games like the basketball games during March Madness. That’s why photographers use remote cameras.

sports remote cameraRemote cameras allow photographers to shoot multiple areas of the game, race or match, without actually being there. It also offers a way to achieve multiple angles that photographers often cannot achieve on their own.

If you want to get started using remote cameras, there are a few things you should know. First you have to ensure you have the right camera. Not every camera will work as a remote camera. You need to have a specific port to plug in a PocketWizard. A PocketWizard acts as a switch that allows you to trigger the camera.

You will need two PocketWizards for remote cameras. One attaches to the remote camera and the other is used to trigger the remote. The second PocketWizard can be connected to a handheld camera or it can be used as a standalone transmitter.

Finally you will need a bracket or floor plate that will attach to the remote camera. It is essential that you receive permission from the building or the referees before you mount a remote. You want to ensure that it’s in a safe space and is not a hazard to the players or interfere with the game. Not only will this save you from interference and losing the job, but also from damaging your camera!

Once you have all your gear and permission from the building to set up a remote camera, you need to find the right place to set up your remote camera. You want to think where the action is going to occur and the different about the angles you can capture.

remote camera how toMany sports photographers choose the point of major action to set up their remote cameras. For example, in hockey you may want to set up a camera above one of the goals to get a overhead shot. In basketball, behind the hoop is a great way to capture really great action photos.

You can also choose to set up your remote camera fro
m above to try and capture the full view of the game, which would be impossible to catch from your spot on the floor.

Or maybe you want more options and angles of shots. For example, setting up a camera on the floor, while you’re on the other side of the court. Or setting up a remote camera behind a lacrosse goal while you’re on the other side of it, to give both perspectives of shots.

_RCS0261No matter where you choose to set up your remote camera or how you choose to use it, they can be invaluable tools if you want to advance your sports photography career.

The next time you are browsing through sports photos, take a look at the different angles to determine if a remote camera is used and where it was set up to give you a better feel for how photographers use remote cameras for high profile games.

For more step by step instructions, check out this video by Imaging Resource on how to mount a remote camera here.

The Right Camera Settings for Great Action Shots

It’s essential that you get yourself set up for success before the action starts in sports photography. Before the starting whistle blows and the game begins, get your camera set up with the right settings so you can shoot like a pro!

right-camera-settings-action-shots

Check your shutter speed and set it to the appropriate speed. Remember this depends on what you are shooting and how fast the subject is moving.

Set your camera to the lowest possible ISO setting for the amount of light you have to work with. If you are shooting outdoors, use ISO 100 or 200. If you are in low light, use higher ISO numbers. It’s important to note that the higher the ISO, the more “noise” or graininess a photo will have. It’s important to find the right balance between noise and blurriness when finding the right ISO setting for your event.

Adjust your aperture. The aperture is the opening of a lens that light passes through and it is calibrated in f/stops. It can be a little bit confusing when you first start off. The lower the f/stop means that the larger the opening in the lens and the higher the f/stop, the smaller the opening. A larger aperture (meaning a lower f/stop) will help you increase your shutter speed and give you a shallower depth of field to help isolate players from the background. This will also help you have a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action.

Try burst or continuous shooting mode. Continuous shooting mode can take multiple shots at a time and can be best for certain types of fast-moving sports. However, remember that your memory card will fill up faster with burst mode so be sure yours has enough capacity or you will have to delete shots at half time or time outs.

If you are shooting an indoor event, you will need to adjust your white balance setting. The preset daylight white balance setting will usually work for outdoor lighting. Because indoor lighting is artificial, you may want to set up a custom white balance or it can impact your camera settings and change the colors of your shot.

You also need to turn your flash off! This is key! Flash photography can distract the players. If you have a slow lens that requires flash, you may want to invest in a faster lens or rent one from DC Sports Photography Academy.

Remember, above all, that sports photography is something that requires consistent practice. Get your settings correct and remember that with each game, you will improve more and more.

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